Sunday, 20 May 2018

Limbo (Sunday Post #16)

https://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/the-sunday-post-meme

It's been a while since I've linked up for this, an unfortunate consequence of me posting my monthly wrap-ups on the final day of the month instead of the first Sunday, but I've handed in my last ever assignments so it seemed like a good time to take a look at where I am now. 

Meanwhile, in the Real World...

I'm kind of in limbo at the moment. On the one hand, I'm searching for jobs. On the other, term hasn't technically ended yet so I'm still a student. Assignments are all handed in now and, honestly, I'm done. If I ever have to write another essay, it'll be too soon. All I can do now is wait and see what's coming next.

So what does that mean for this blog?

News from the Blogging Front

Well, I'll have to change my tag line.

(Obviously.)

But other than that? Right now, I'm thinking nothing. I wanted to jazz it up a bit, but I don't like change and didn't want to do anything too extreme so please enjoy the stock picture of a forest that Blogger provided for the background.
 
(Blogger - saving lazy bloggers since 2018.)


News from the Reading Front

I'm joining another reading challenge.

(We do not need to join another reading challenge.)

Your opinion is noted. 

As I was saying, I'm signing up for Beat the Backlist 2018

http://novelknight.com/2018-beat-backlist/
(Dammit!)

I always read far more backlist books than I do new releases, so I can't believe I missed this one in December. I'm aiming to read 30 backlist books.

News from the Writing Front
 

I CAN WRITE WHAT I WANT AGAIN! 

https://giphy.com/gifs/brooklyn-nine-pGnQ7i6DuPKmc

For real this time. I have a short story I need to edit for an anthology that the society I'm in puts out every year, but after that I can go back to focusing on the first draft of my story. I've been reading through some of the latest chapters (mainly to reacquaint myself with where I'm at) and, oh my God, it needs so much editing.

But who cares?

I can work on it again. Reguarly. That's all that really matters.

News from Around the Net
  • If you haven't read this post about why we need to stop calling female characters Mary-Sues, you need to. It takes pot-shots at Batman (always a joy), and also a quick shot Spiderman (HOW COULD YOU?!).
  • The final issue of Super Sons comes out on Wednesday 23rd of May. It's been confirmed on Twitter that the duo will return in a new series called Adventures of the Super Sons in August 2018.
  • Shruti @ This is Lit has started the Banned Book Club monthly meme, encouraging people to read and review a banned book (voted for by the Goodreads group) every month. Click here to join the group.
  • We're all blessed because Brooklyn Nine-Nine is no longer cancelled. 
Happy Sunday! How's life?

Thursday, 17 May 2018

This Post is Covered in Pig's Blood (Carrie by Stephen King)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17396842-carrie
3/5

"Jesus watches from the wall.
But his face is cold as stone.
And if he loves me - As she tells me
Why do I feel so all alone?" - Stephen King, Carrie, page 71
 
Anyone who doesn't know the plot of Carrie has probably only just arrived on earth. So, first of all, hello. We come in peace. I promise none of us have telekinetic powers. For you aliens in the audience, the story goes like this...

Kids bully girl.

Kids dump pig's blood on girl.

Girl makes kids regret it.

It's your quintessential beware the quiet ones lest they snap story, and Carrie snaps epically

To be honest though, I'm not sure how far she really needed to be pushed. Don't get me wrong, Carrie's not an entirely unsympathetic character - you'd have to be heartless not to feel even a little bit sorry for the bullied schoolgirl with the abusive fundamentalist mother - but she struck me as borderline sociopatic from the beginning. One of the first things we see her doing with her powers is knocking a boy (who was yelling at her) off his bike. She thinks frequently about making the people around her pay. As someone who was a bullied schoolgirl? That certainly wasn't my normal. One of the things that makes her such a brilliant villain is her intelligence. The damage she does is multiplied by her thinking ahead and taking away many of the facilities that would have allowed the people of Chamberlain to respond effectively to her rampage.

Most of the story centres around one of two locations. The first is Carrie's home, where her mother espouses the evils of the female anatomy and reguarly locks her daughter in the closet in a sort of forced confessional. At the beginning of the book, Carrie starts her first period and thinks she's dying. She's seventeen. Her mother claims it's because she's sinned. The second is the high school. Carrie's period starts in the showers here. Her classmates respond by throwing sanitary products at her. This second setting takes a depressingly realistic look at experiences kids have in education. Not only is Carrie bullied, laughed at for her ignorance, and mocked about a perfectly normal bodily function, but other characters (most notably Sue and Chris) deal with sexual and romantic pressures. Despite this, the novel manages to avert the idea of teenagers being selfish, psychopathic monsters through the character of Sue. Plagued by regret for her part in Carrie's torment, Sue spends the rest of the novel trying to make up for it. 

The format of Carrie is rather unusual. Articles and extracts from books are sprinkled throughout the story. We know from the beginning that there is a "Carrie White incident". I liked the style - it was different.

This novel was written over forty years ago and certain aspects of it have not aged well, but it's a quick read with a fascinating main character. I'm glad I finally got round to picking it up.

 Have any good horror recs?

Thursday, 10 May 2018

In Which I Attempt to Review a Comic (Teen Titans: Year One by Amy Wolfram, Karl Kerschl, Serge LaPoint, Steph Peru, and John Rauch)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7933079-year-one-inked-by-serge-lapointe3/5

Batman: "There's a master cat burglar on the loose and you're chatting with your friends?" - Teen Titans: Year One, page 2

I picked this up cheap from the sale shelf. How cheap? I could have gotten a single issue of a currently running title for more or less the same price. Given that this is six issues, it would have had to be monumentally bad to not have been worth the money.

It was worth the money.

This is the Teen Titans origin story dragged into the modern day. Although I question them updating the setting but not Robin's costume. I mean, it makes sense for Aqualad to wear Speedos - he spends a lot of time in the water - and the bottom half of Wonder Girl's costume matches Wonder Woman's. But Robin is swinging around Gotham wearing lime green Speedos for no apparent reason. In the 2000s. ...Anyway. This book uses the same cast as Titans, although Omen is missing completely and Roy vanishes for most of the second half. It was pretty light on plot, but cute and funny enough to get away with it, so definitely more aimed at kids than adults. Well. I assumed so up until the egregious scene where Green Arrow told Speedy not to knock Wonder Girl up. By the way, Green Arrow, between this and Young Justice, you really haven't made a good first impression. 


https://giphy.com/gifs/arrow-oliver-queen-stephen-amell-Mr1JxulMrrT4k

I wavered between giving it three or four stars, but settled on three because I had a fair number of good and bad points.

The Good
  •  This is my favourite version of Garth (Aqualad) so far. Sure, he's neurotic and cowardly, but I just feel like there's more to him than to the other versions I'm familiar with. Not to mention, I love his design.
    • Garth: "What would Robin do?"
    • Garth: *Makes a pun*
  • I liked the contrast between Robin's relationship with Batman and the relationships the other Teen Titans had with their mentors.It's not a contrast that painted Batman in a great light, but it was good to see it all the same.
  • The art is great.
  • "You're very disturbed, Robin." - Kid Flash, upon getting stuck inside Robin's head.  
  • Wonder Girl's...I'm going to say naivety. In the issue where she dates Speedy, he comes off as just as insecure and childish as he really is because she seems to lack an understanding of traditional gender roles. She doesn't understand why he doesn't want her help, or why he's mad that she saved him, and her reaction to being told that she's not like other girls is to worry that he means it as a criticism. To her, it doesn't sound like a compliment. 
  • I both love and hate the ending. I love it because you can interpret it as either the adventure continues or the bad guy wins, although I think the second one is just accidentally implied by the message Batman sends Robin. (I still like the second one. I'm a bad person.)
The Bad
  • Wonder Girl is the only girl in the group and her entire character revolves around being boy-crazy.
  • They took down the entire Justice League within an issue. 
  • Correction. They took down the entire Justice League within an issue with only one (established) competent team member. 
  • Wally (Kid Flash) is a character I either seem to like or dislike depending on the story. In Titans, I like him. In Young Justice, not so much. This version falls somewhere in the middle, although he's definitely more towards the dislike end of the scale. It doesn't help that the issue where he gets the most focus paints him as fame-hungry and jealous. 
  • There were a couple of plot threads that were dropped completely without being resolved.
    • First of all, since we're on the subject, Wally being jealous of Robin. This is made more complicated by the fact that Robin is his closest friend and also oblivious. It probably did not help that he told Wally not to come back to Gotham with him because it would be dangerous. (Bear in mind here that Robin is an ordinary kid in a flimsy cape and impractical slipper-looking things, and Wally can run halfway across the world in five seconds flat.) This situation seemed ripe for conflict, but it's pretty much dropped after issue #4. 
    • Batman and Robin. Batman is clearly unhappy about Robin working with the other teens, but he never outright says it. He's just really passive-aggressive about it. This is actually my biggest issue with the ending. I feel like we were supposed to forgive Batman, but he even chickens out of saying what he really wants to say over instant messaging. Did I sympathise with him? Sure. But the fact that there wasn't even an attempt at a conversation made me feel like they'd left the plot thread dangling. 
Definitely worth the read if you're looking for something light and funny.

Do you review comics? And, if you do, how do you go about it?

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Freedom! ...Sort of... (April Wrap-up)


Halfway through last month I abruptly vanished from the blogosphere. Now that my dissertation's gone in, I'm allowed to be a human for at least a couple of days before I start melting down over essays.

(Remember when you used to have time management skills?)

Vaguely. Those were the days, huh?

News from the Reading Front

Embarassingly I only finished one novel last month, and it was an unfinished one too.

Maria, or the Wrongs of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft 

I also got through three comic compilations, which I justified in the name of destressing.

Reading Challenge Check-in


I'm six books behind schedule on my Goodreads challenge. You cannot imagine how relieved I am that January-me decided that she couldn't handle 100 books this year. I don't even want to think about how far behind I would be otherwise...

2018 Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge: 0/5

Science Fiction VS Fantasy Bingo 2018: 1/25

  • Fantastic Beasts - All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
The 2018 Swords and Stars Reading Challenge: 1/20
  • Read a Book with Magical Realism in it - All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Back to the Classics Challenge 2018: 3/12
  • A classic written by a woman author - Agnes Grey by Anne Bront
 
  • All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater 
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge: 0/5

Ivyclad Bingo (2018 Reading Challenge): 5/16
  • Superhero - Nightwing Rebirth Volume One: Better than Batman by Tim Seeley
  • Contemporary - All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  • Over 500 Pages - Pamela by Samuel Richardson
  • Historical - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (Yes, even at the time it was published.)
  • Black Cover - Middlemarch by George Eliot 
News from the Writing Front

My dissertation's finally in, so I can write what I want again!

https://giphy.com/gifs/wonder-girls-TcLkLPjPLUfny
(Essays.)

Don't ruin the illusion for me.


News from the Net

I take it you're all having fun dodging Infinity War spoilers too? 

https://giphy.com/gifs/young-justice-wonder-girl-cassie-sandsmark-QS1wtl0CZepDa

I've almost thrown my laptop across the room more times than I can count, but I've been successful so far. Oh, and there's a special place in hell reserved for whoever invented that 'X dies in Infinity War' meme. 


 How was your April?

Saturday, 14 April 2018

The TBR Shame Tag

I stole this tag from Erin @ Book Loving Nut

This tag forces you to name and shame every unread book that you own. 

Every. Single. One.  

(You dug your grave. Now lie down in it and suffer.)

My physical TBR of shame...


A

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

B

Pandaemonium by Christopher Brookmyre

C

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins

D

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
The Death Cure by James Dashner
The Kill Order by James Dashner

(You never do seem to make it through boxsets.)

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

G
 

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

H

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton 

L

Les Liaisons Dangereux by Choderlos de Laclos (Currently Reading) 

M

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Winter by Marissa Meyer 

R

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
 
Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

S

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab 

Matilda by Mary Shelley

T

Super Sons Vol. 2: Planet of the Capes by Peter J. Tomasi 

W
 
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir (Technically I have read this, but I haven't reread it which is precisely what I bought it for in the first place.)

Maria by Mary Wollstonecraft


Total: 24

https://giphy.com/gifs/embarrassed-miley-cyrus-xhgAFd54VUFKE

(I'm ashamed to be your acquaintance.)

I tag anyone else who feels like having an epiphany about just how out of control their book buying habits are. 

Is your TBR as tall as you yet?